The Fernie Ghostriders had their winning streak come to a close over the weekend, losing both their home game against the Columbia Valley Rockies on Oct. 28 to the tune of 2-1 and a 4-0 loss in an away game against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks. The Fernie squad held on to their spot in the standings despite the losses and remain seated in third, six points ahead of Columbia Valley and nine points behind Creston. The Free Press spoke with head coach and general manager of the Fernie Ghostriders, Craig Mohr after their defeat at home on Oct. 28.
“We had a very flat start. It took a while to get our motors going. Since it is hard to score on that goalie to begin with that made it even tougher. I thought both goalies were awesome tonight. Other than our first 15 I thought the game was pretty even. In the second we really started putting it to them. Credit to them, I thought they played some really desperate hockey today and some times you have to tip your hat to your opponent - I thought they played really hard. That is the best I have seen them play,” he said. “For us, we just didn’t get it going soon enough. Lately we have been so good off the starts but it was a 2-1 hockey game. Shots were 33-32 I think, and you’re shorthanded for four out of the last five minutes of the third. I am not going to blame Trevor [Broad], he was playing hard and sometimes that happens. He was trying to make a play and a bigger, stronger guy hit a smaller guy that far away from the wall, that was a hardworking penalty.”
The close game left the team with a couple of potentially injured players. The team sent two of their veteran players to the hospital for X-rays on Oct. 28.
“We are in Beaver Valley tomorrow,” Mohr told The Free Press after the Oct. 28 game. “We are pretty banged up right now, we have [Tayler] Sincennes and [Keagan] Kingwell at the hospital right now. Sincennes blocked a shot and Kingwell injured his hand in the fight. We’ve also had some other guys on the verge of not being able to play like Alex Cheveldave who sat out of practices all week. We are at that stage in the season where we are a little beat up, but it’s a chance for some of the other guys to wake up and step up to fill some roles. Some of our first years will be getting a chance now,” said Mohr. “We try to pride ourselves on running four lines when we can and we try to keep everyone in the game for this reason. If you only run two lines all year and some of them go down then you’re in trouble. We will be shorthanded, some guys are going to be hurt and we have some guys getting sick right now. But do you think Beaver Valley gives a crap? You can’t use that as a crutch. I know sometimes as a player you play better when you’re sick. You know your limitations and you almost play smarter.”
A familiar face returned to the Ghostrider bench for their Oct. 28 home game. The ex-Ghostrider player, Jake MacLachlan played for the Riders in the 2013-2014 season before moving onto a different league. MacLachlan left the jersey in the dressing room and stepped up to help coach the squad.
“You may have noticed that we have Jake MacLachlan on the bench. He is a former player for the Riders and he went through a horrific experience in the summer. He was the one who was running a half marathon in Vancouver and his body shut down – he was in a coma. So he is doing rehab and healing and he kind of approached us asking if he could get involved. I said ‘yeah, absolutely.’ I think the guys may be able to talk to him easier than they can talk to me. I think he can bring a fresh set of eyes. He may be able to see something we’re missing. He played a bunch of years in junior so I can ask ‘did you ever do a different drill or this or that?’ and he could come up with a 3-on-1 or 2-on-1 drill or something like that and can help the team out,” explained Mohr. “He brings that youthful enthusiasm, he’s like a sponge. I was talking to him and we were unsure if we should put him on the bench right away and I decided to hell with that, let’s get him on the bench and get him some experience. He’s enjoying it and he is great to have around. He is such a good young man.”
The Ghostriders practices this week could vary depending on how many players put their skates on.
“Practicing will depend on tomorrow’s game and if we break down somewhere. But I think we broke down in the neutral zone a bit today - offensive and defensive. I think we will be going over our neutral zone game and try to lock that down going both ways. That, and we need to keep pounding the work ethic into them, that is the way it is with this group,” said Mohr. “We will also need to see how many bodies we have, your practices really change with the number of guys you have. If you’re missing a bunch then it is tough to get full lines together and run systems. It may be a lot of controlled scrimmages with me stopping the play and teaching a lot.”
The Ghostriders play the Rockies in another home game on Nov. 4. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.